New frog species discovery in India


This video from India says about itself:

Euphlyctis karaavali: CR Naik

25 December 2016

Video clip of Karaavali skittering frog. This is part of supplementary video clip of the article published in Asian Herpetological Research 2016, 7(4): 229–241; DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.160020

From BirdLife:

The frog we thought was a kingfisher

By Tim Knight, 24 Jan 2017

A coastal survey in western India has spawned the discovery of a new species hiding in plain sight.

Tadpoles turning into frogs are nothing new, but when a bird is miraculously transformed into an amphibian – and a previously unknown one at that – it’s time to sit up and take notice. In a bizarre turn of events that gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘metamorphosis’, a frog whose call was initially mistaken for the more familiar sound made by a white-throated kingfisher has just been confirmed as a new species.

It was citizen science that first shed light on the true identity of the Karaavali skittering frog, named after the region where it was first recorded. In the local Kannada language widely spoken in the state of Karnataka, Karaavali is the name for India’s west coast.

A local forester, C R Naik, was monitoring the biodiversity around his coastal village in order to document the bird, snake and frog species in the vicinity. Having realised that the kingfisher-like call was actually being emitted by a frog, he had the presence of mind to record it on his mobile phone. During subsequent fieldwork in the Western Ghats he played back the recording to a team of scientists, including several herpetologists, who naturally assumed that they were listening to a bird.

Leap of the imagination

Among them was Seshadri K S, winner of a 2010 Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) award who is currently studying for a PhD at the National University of Singapore. Intrigued by Naik’s claim that the call belonged to a frog and not, in fact, to the commonly heard White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon gularis, Seshadri resolved to visit the coastal site and investigate the mystery for himself. Sure enough, a few hours of nocturnal detective work amid flooded paddy fields in the company of Naik revealed that the forester’s story was not an elaborate hoax. Subsequent analysis of the call helped to confirm that the species was indeed new to science.

“Often, such scientific discoveries happen because there are foot soldiers like Mr Naik working hard in the field”, Seshadri observed. “Him being a forest official and making observations on nature makes this discovery special. We hope this discovery will inspire the staff of the forest departments and research is encouraged. By joining hands with researchers, Naik has come to the forefront of biodiversity conservation. Such efforts will [help to put] biological research in India on a par with [the rest] of the world.”

In a wonderful example of the results that can be achieved when enthusiastic and knowledgeable citizens join forces with experts, Naik is among the co-authors of a paper recently published in the December 2016 issue of Asian Herpetological Research, which brought the Karaavali skittering frog discovery to the attention of the wider scientific community.

Public engagement

Dr Gururaj K V, a renowned frog researcher and another co-author of the recent paper, who performed the bioacoustics analysis of the call, is a strong advocate of the need to engage the general public in scientific pursuits and was therefore particularly gratified that citizen science had played such a key role in the discovery: “We were certain that the call was of a bird and [that] he was taking us for a ride; however, Mr Naik was adamant. We conceded that the call ought to be explored more and asked Naik to make a video next time he heard it. He immediately got to work and sent us short video clips and said this was a new species of frog.”

Naik himself was equally elated: “I am so happy that a new frog [has been] discovered from my native place and I am doubly delighted to be part of this discovery. I am thankful for the entire team of scientists who took trusted in me. This discovery has motivated me and I will continue making observations, not only about frogs, but in other [areas of] natural history. Such observations can help in creating awareness among citizens about nature.”

The newly discovered species is already threatened by nearby infrastructure development in the shape of highway construction and conversion of agricultural land. The paper’s authors highlight the fact that the frog appears to be restricted to just three districts in the coastal plains of Karnataka, and recommend that it should be officially classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

See also here.

Pied-billed grebe eats bullfrog


This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

15 December 2016

A little Pied Billed Grebe catches a big Florida Bullfrog and with a lot of effort manages to swallow it whole with a chaser of water. All in a day’s work.

The Bullfrog is the largest native frog in North America reaching a maximum of 8 inches in body length. The Grebe is one of the smallest waterfowl reaching a length of 9 inches. I don’t think this one will need to eat for quite awhile!

Common frog and caterpillar, video


In this video from the Netherlands, a large white butterfly caterpillar licks the skin of a common frog. What will happen?

Dragonfly couple escapes from death


In this video, a dragonfly couple, after mating, still hold on to each other until the female will have deposited her eggs under water.

An edible frog tries to eat them, but just misses.

Geertje in the Netherlands made this 6 September 2016 video.

New frog species discovery in Peru


Sleeping beauty rain frog, photo Germán Chávez

From Science, Space & Robots:

Newly Discovered Rain Frog Named After Sleeping Beauty Mountains

Posted on August 11, 2016

A new species of rain frog has been discovered in the premontane forests of the Peruvian central Andes. The frog has been named after the Sleeping Beauty mountains. This is the local name for the mountains where the frog lives. The Bella Durmiente (Sleeping beauty) mountain chain … is named for its resemblance to a sleeping woman.

The frog’s scientific name is Pristimantis pulchridormientes. “Pulcher” is Latin for beautiful and “dormientes” means sleeping. The common name for the new frog species is Sleeping beauty rain frog.

The frog has bright-red groins, shanks and thighs. It has a yellowish-brown body. The frog was discovered and described by Drs German Chavez, Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI), and Alessandro Catenazzi, affiliated with both CORBIDI and Southern Illinois University.

Dr. Chavez says in the announcement, “When we heard the chorus of males, first thought was: such a strange call! When we saw this amazing frog, we knew that it is a new species. No other frog has that bright red colour on rear limbs!”

A research paper on the newly discovered frog species can be found here in the journal ZooKeys.

Polecat eats frog, video


This video shows a polecat with a frog, at the Kaaistoep nature reserve in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Martijn de Boer made this video.

Edible frogs in Dutch Veluwe region


This 21 July 2016 video shows edible frogs in the Dutch Veluwe region.